By Kharisma McIlwaine
There has been a lot of buzz around the new crime drama, ‘Broken City.’ Being a huge fan of thrillers and action films, this film is the perfect combination of those two elements. ‘Broken City’ tells the story of a community that stands to lose everything at the hand of a corrupt mayor and the ex- cop-turned-private investigator who decides to take him on at all costs. The aforementioned hero with a cause is played by Mark Wahlberg.
The red carpet screening held at The Prince Theatre was filled with cameras, media, Philadelphia royalty. Approaching the theater, the first thing I saw was people–a lot of people! The line started on Chestnut in front of the theater, then wrapped around to Broad Street past the FYE music store, continuing on farther than I could see.
Philadelphia VIP guests included Mayor Michael Nutter, Sharon Pinkenson, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Film Office, and WDAS-FM radio personality Patty Jackson,who presented Mark Wahlberg with a Honorary Citizen of Philadelphia award. Wahlberg commented on having shot five films in the City of Brotherly Love and added how much he loves Philadelphia for its realness.
Broken City’s star-studded cast included Russell Crowe as Mayor Nicholas Hostetler, Catherine Zeta Jones as Cathleen Hostetler, Jeffrey Wright as Carl Fairbanks, and a couple of fresh, up and coming faces, Alona Tal as Kathy Bradshaw and Natalie Martinez as Natalie Barrow. Broken City is dynamic in detail with plot twists, humor, love, corruption and an ending that just might surprise you.
I asked Broken City director Allen Hughes and Mark Wahlberg how they came to work together on this project. Hughes revealed that initially he threw the script away, not once but twice. After dragging it from the trash bin, he realized he was left with “a great heroic redemption story” that he wanted to tell. Hughes went on to say when he first met Wahlberg they began “hugging” and could feel a warmth there.
The same thing happened the next three times when they saw one another and after reading the script for Broken City. He had an ‘aha’ moment where he realized that Wahlberg would be perfect to play Billy Taggart. I followed up by asking Mark why he was drawn to the character of Billy.
“It reminded me of the movies I grew up watching with my dad,” Wahlberg said, “Great 70’s character driven movies where you had just real guys and real situations, and it just felt like it was something real. It didn’t necessarily feel like you were watching a movie.” Broken City does allow you to lose yourself in this alternate reality that seems very real.
One of the funniest moments was when Wahlberg was asked if he did his own stunts. Hughes interrupted by saying, “Let me answer that…” with an infectious laugh. Hughes was very adamant about keeping the authenticity of the film, and how good Wahlberg is with the physical aspects of this role. “All the fight sequences in the film are real, they really hit each other,” said Hughes. Wahlberg added, “I guess growing up the youngest brother of eight will teach you how to take a punch.” The room erupted in laughter when Wahlberg said, “I’d tell Allen just put the camera there. Trust me this guy can take the whooping 20 times, if we can’t get it after 20 takes we weren’t going to get it anyway.”
If you are in the mood for a gritty, provocative crime story, look for Broken City in a theatre near you.